Death 2 U vs the Queens of the Stone Age

I took my fictional metal band, Death 2 U, on stage last night. Packed stadium. Roaring crowd. Wetting-their-pants crazy to see us, just last week an unknown band playing in someone’s basement, cover Queens of the Stone Age’s “No One Knows”.

No one knew how nervous we were. This song is HARD. Even on “Medium”.

I love Guitar Hero to death, but as this TeleFragged review points out, it doesn’t teach you much about playing a real guitar. But it gives you a helluva impression about how much work really goes into songs that don’t sound like they have anything going for them at all.

These guys really ARE musicians.

I don’t totally agree that you learn nothing from GH about playing a real instrument. You DEFINITELY learn about timing.

I play multiple instruments; flute, piano; I took violin in college and taught myself the pennywhistle. I have made my own arrangements of Rennaisance dances for flute and synthesizer (which I seem to have lost, by the way….) I know my way around a sheet of music.

And though I have metronomes and though my teachers urged me to practice with them without fail… well, it was always so easy to just shut them off when things got too hard. Slow down the hard bits. And when it came time for performance, well, if I hadn’t practiced enough, it would bite me.

Guitar Hero does not allow you to slow down the hard bits. If you screw up, you hear garbage out of the speakers. Nail it, and it’s sweet solo magic. SO yeah; GH is doing wonders for keeping me from taking it easy.

If I ever take up real guitar; I want something like that to help me for real. I just know I will be cursing it as I try to both change chords, AND read music; but it pays off.


I refuse to believe that any day that begins with finding your dice, can be a bad day. Those blurry bits of plastic saw me through a lot of hard times. Not long ago, I’d have sat right down, pulled out a clean character sheet and rolled up an adventurer. When I found these while packing this morning, my first thought was: I gotta put these in my blog!

Our gaming club at the University of New Hampshire was a pretty much one-to-one correspondence to the computer geeks. Other gamers called each other by their characters; we called each other by handles we used on the universitie’s mainframes.

I was Albatross. There was Nomad, Mediator, Kirin, Ridgerunner, Penguin (hugs future spouse), Ruler… not even sure if I knew all their real names. Didn’t matter. Even though we all saw each other in real life every day; it was by our time online that we named ourselves.

Those dice above weren’t the ones I used at UNH. Those soft-plastic ones wore out long ago (but I would never have thrown them away; I wonder where they are now? In my old TRAVELLER game box?). I used these to run my own games, over the Usenet, in the 80s.

Moving is an adventure. A really slow one. I have so much packing. I have so many CDs. My daughter keeps her CDs in a huge album, tosses the cases. I thought that was a wonderful idea, but heck, why not rip EVERY ONE OF FOUR HUNDRED CDS to Baphomet? My little pet demon computer can keep them safe, and someday feed them to my next computer, which will control my living room. Rip them, put the original CDs in giant albums in case the RIAA comes by demanding proof of ownership, and forget them.

Ripping these CDs takes from about five to fifteen minutes, depending upon the disk. The nice friendly GUI program that rips CDs plainly hates my CD drive, so I use a Perl script (RipIt) front end to cdparanoia which rips and tags the music automatically. Well, I added a bit to automatically eject the CD when it has been ripped.

The CD drive is 56x. Shouldn’t it rip a 72 minute CD in just over a minute?

But cdparanoia can read severely damaged disks. Most of the time. One Debussy disk it worked on twelve minutes before it gave up. But others that spent a little less time stuck behind bookcases came out fine.

Anyway. Some of this music I haven’t so much as thought about in years. Echolyn‘s Pink Floyd-esque sounds were nice to find once more. Music To Install Windows 98 By? Classic stuff.

Babylon 5 – I've Found Her

Busy day in the blog…

Years ago, Sierra was making a Babylon 5 game. It looked slick. I upgraded my computer so I would be able to play it. I loved Wing Commander, and I loved B5, so this game looked perfect… and then it was canceled.

Fans decided not to let it go that easily, and made their own based on the Homeworld engine (I played Homeworld. It was okay. I got to the second-to-last mission and just abandoned it.)

I honestly felt that basing it on Homeworld was a bad decision – kept you too far from the action.

Hmm… okay based on some looking around, it looks like the previous fan games were based on “Independence War” (which looks pretty interesting) and “Freespace” (of which I played the demo, and enjoyed it). Those sound like great engines to use.

THIS one – Babylon 5: I Found Her is based on its own engine. The game looks like it was largely from Russian coders, with help from all over the world.

It looks fascinating. Maybe it’s time to haul out the flightstick…

Sometimes I hate MMOs for shutting me off from the other games I used to love, like space combat games, flight simulators, console RPGs…..